SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

January 16, 2013

A beautiful tradition

Restoration firm moves from Boston to Beverly

Oliver Brothers, the oldest art restoration firm in the country, has been making paintings beautiful again since 1850.

Over that time, the firm has taken in paintings by Rembrandt, Degas and Cezanne — as well as Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer — then returned them to their owners looking good as new.

Recently, the firm moved from Boston to Beverly.

“There are two main aspects to restoration: the structural aspect of the painting and the appearance of the painting,” said Peter Tysver, chief restorer at Oliver Brothers. “Both of these are usually compromised by age.”

Paintings dim with the years because their surfaces get dirty, or the coat of varnish that protects the paint deteriorates.

“The older varnishes were made with organic resins, which turn yellow over a period of time,” Tysver said. “So those are removed to get back to the original color.”

Structural damage occurs when canvas decays, or as the layers of a painting expand and contract with changes in the atmosphere. Those layers include sizing, a kind of glue that strengthens cloth and a coating of gesso, the white ground on which an artist paints.

“In the beginning, when the painting is new, the paint layer is flexible and there isn’t a problem,” Tysver said. “But when the paint layer gets older, it becomes brittle, and when the movement happens underneath the paint, it makes cracks.”

Many of these problems are fixed using a press that was invented by George Taylor Oliver, grandson of James Oliver, the Scottish immigrant who originally founded the firm in New York.

The pressure that smooths paint buckling around cracks, and also fixes a reinforcing liner to the back of the canvas, is created by suction.

“When it goes into the press, it gets sandwiched between these pieces of silicon-coated white craft paper,” said Greg Bishop, who co-owns Oliver Brothers with Tysver. “The vacuum sucks the air out, therefore forcing the adhesive.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business

AP Video
Autistic Entrepreneurs Prove Their Mettle Security Firm: Hackers Steal 1.2B Passwords Phelps Signs With New Suit Company Escaping Email: Inspired Vision or Pipe Dream? US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct US Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July's Gains Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones
NDN Video
Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Serious Flash Flooding in Arizona Man Poses for New Mugshot Photo Wearing Shirt with Old Mugshot Photo On It Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listeners' Caught On Camera: Johnny Manziel Obscene Gesture Rita Ora Embraces the Ice Bucket Challenge Bird surprises soccer player Ashley Young during game Chapter Two: Never too late to become an artist Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral, Raises Over $15M For ALS Damaging Winds Stop the Show! In the Cockpit of the Air Force's Elite Squadron Pathologist: Autopsy Shows Teen Repeatedly Shot Christina Aguilera Has a Baby Girl Marvel Fans: Watch Dancing Baby Groot Over and Over! Raw: Protesters, Police Clash in Ferguson Gov. Rick Perry responds to indictment Breaking: Officials release name of police officer in Ferguson shooting Man Shot As Protesters Defy Curfew in Ferguson Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez Back Together for Two ‘Secret’ Dates
Comments Trcker